NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – Once again, the all-time 10km lists underwent major revision at the Birell Prague 10km, an IAAF Gold Label road race over the weekend.
In the women’s race, both winner Sheila Chepkirui and runner-up Dorcas Kimeli, who finished just half a step behind, were credited with 29:57 performances to become just the second and third women to cover the distance in under 30 minutes.
Only their Kenyan compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei, who set the 29:43 world record on this same course in 2017, has run faster.
In the men’s race, Geoffrey Koech fought off Mathew Kimeli in the waning stages to reach the finish line in a world-leading 27:02, equalling the legendary Haile Gebrselassie as the fourth fastest man ever. Kimeli clocked 27:07, to move up to No. 7 all-time.
The women were off to a blazing start, with Chepkirui, Kimeli and Norah Jeruto, better known as a standout steeplechase, reaching the midway point in 14:46, with Fancy Chemutai another second back.
That group was soon winnowed down to just Chepkirui and Kimeli who fought it out until the closing metres when Chepkirui finally prevailed by about half a second.
“The second five kilometres was very hard,” Chepkirui said. “I was fighting so, so hard to win this race.”
Jeruto, who beat world record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech in the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF Diamond League stop in Oslo in June, was third in 30:07.
Like the women, the leaders in the men’s race set a blistering pace from the outset, with Benard Kimeli leading Geoffrey Koech, Mathew Kimeli, Bravin Kiptoo and Shadrack Koech leading the field through the first five kilometres in 13:23. Another five runners were well within striking distance, just one or two seconds behind.
The pace soon proved too much for most, with just Kiptoo, Geoffrey Koech and Matthew Kimeli left in the hunt after seven kilometres. Koech, the runner-up here last year, powered away over the final kilometre to secure the win.
“Of course there is a lot of space for improvement but still I am very happy with my result,” said the 26-year-old Koech, who clipped 15 seconds from his previous career best.
Kiptoo, 18, was third in 27:12, a world U20 best.
Earlier in the day, organisers of five leading international half marathons –the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon, the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, the Copenhagen Half Marathon, the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon and the Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP– announced the formation of the SuperHalfs international running series that brings the five events under one banner with the aim of promoting running, tourism and environmental sustainability in the host cities.